Michael Gerard Tyson (born June 30, 1966, New York City, USA) is a professional boxer. His once immense promise and skill in the boxing ring has been hampered by a series of criminal charges.
Born in New York City, Tyson is a boxer with a respect and knowledge of his sports history, and its most vicious practitioner. Tyson was in and out of juvenile detention centers and many experts attribute his viciousness and aggressiveness in the ring to events stemming from this period. One story is told of Tyson running into a bully that had killed one of the beloved pigeons that he took care of. Tyson fought with and beat up the kid, showing the anger that he has displayed throughout his whole lifetime. In 1980 the respected trainer Cus D'Amato was introduced to the boy.
The quick rise to superstardom
The 5-foot 10-inch (178 cm) 227 pound (103 kg) Tyson made his debut in the professional ring on March 6, 1985 in Albany, New York. He won the fight in a single round. He had a further fifteen fights in 1985 winning them all by knockout, and almost all in the first round. He fought twelve times in 1986, cutting a dangerous path through improving ranks of journeyman fighters and already attracting attention and courting media controversy (v. Jesse Ferguson). On November 22, 1986 Tyson was given his first title shot, fighting Trevor Berbick for the WBC heavyweight title. It took Tyson two rounds to become, at age 20, the youngest heavyweight champion ever.
In 1987, Tyson defended his title against James 'Bonecrusher' Smith on March 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He won on a unanimous points decision and added Smith's WBA title to his existing belt. 'Tyson mania' in the media was becoming rampant. He beat Pinklon Thomas in May with a knock-out in the sixth round. On August 1 he took the IBF title from Tony Tucker, winning on points to become "undisputed heavyweight champion of the world". His only other fight in 1987 was in October against the 1984 Olympic champion Tyrell Biggs, a workmanlike performance from Tyson ending with a seventh round TKO.
Tyson had three fights in 1988. He faced an aged and flabby Larry Holmes on January 22 which finished with a fourth round TKO. He fought an even flabbier Tony Tubbs in Tokyo in March, fitting in an easy two round demolition amid promotional and marketing work. On June 27 he produced a good performance against Michael Spinks, Spinks lasted fractionally over 90 seconds before his KO.
But Tyson's problems outside boxing were starting to gain prominence too, his marriage to Robin Givens was heading for divorce, and his future contract was being clawed over by Don King and Bill Cayton . In 1989, Tyson had only two fights amid personal turmoil. He faced the popular British boxer Frank Bruno in February in a below-par fight over five rounds and managed a one round knockout of Carl Williams in July.
By 1990 Tyson had lost direction, his personal life was in disarray and he was not training well. In a fight on February 11 with the little regarded James 'Buster' Douglas he lost to a tenth round KO and despite the protests of his manager over a 'slow count' in the eighth round Tyson lost all his belts to Douglas. Tyson's two other fights in 1990 were confidence regaining first round KOs.
In 1991 Tyson fought Donovan "Razor" Ruddock twice, once in March and again in June. These fights were notable because of Tyson's bizarre "jailhouse" talk towards his opponent. He told Ruddock, "Everyone knows you're a transvestite and you love me. I'm gonna make you my girlfriend. I can't wait to get my hands on a pretty thing like you". There was some controversy over the first fight which Tyson won in the seventh round but at the second fight, which Tyson fought while waiting for a match against the new champion Evander Holyfield, Tyson won on points.
Rape, prison and aftermath
Tyson went on trial in Indiana charged with the rape of a 1991 Miss Black America Contest contestant named Desiree Washington on January 27, 1992 Tyson was found guilty of the rape on February 10 and imprisoned for 3 years. (Under Indiana law, a defendant convicted of a felony must begin serving his prison sentence immediately after the sentence is imposed) As a result, Tyson did not fight again until 1995.
As a Get-out-of-jail opener he won within one round against Peter McNeeley in August and beat Buster Mathis Jr. in three in December, 1995. In March, 1996 Tyson regained one belt, winning the WBC title from a lumbering Frank Bruno in three rounds. In September, 1996 Tyson won back the WBA in 93 seconds from Bruce Seldon , having paid Lennox Lewis $4 million dollars to 'step-aside'.
The Holyfield fights
On November 9, 1996 however he faced a tougher challenge in Evander Holyfield, fighting over eleven rounds. Holyfield won with a TKO to become a three-time world champion.
Tyson did not fight again until June of 1997 when there was a hugely anticipated rematch with Holyfield on June 28 for the WBA title. Tyson was disqualified in the third round, when, after losing his temper over a head-butt from Holyfield and coming out without his gum-shield, he bit a chunk from Holyfield's ear. When the referee, Mills Lane, warned him, Tyson went for Holyfield's other ear. On July 9 Tyson was banned from boxing for one year and fined $3 million.
In January 1999 Tyson fought the South African Frans Botha and while Botha initially controlled the fight Tyson landed a single good punch in round five that put Botha down. On February 5 Tyson was sentenced to a year's imprisonment, fined $5,000, and ordered to serve 2 years probation and perform 200 hours of community service for the August 31, 1998 assault on two people after a car accident. He served nine months of that sentence. On his release he fought Orlin Norris in October , where in a farcical scene Norris claimed to have twisted his ankle in the first round and refused to fight on.
In 2000 Tyson had three fights. The first was staged in England and against Julius Francis , although some fans considered the pre-fight arguments about whether Tyson should be allowed into the country more entertaining than the second round KO of Francis. He also fought Lou Savarese in June in Glasgow, winning in the first round, and in October the notoriously dirty Andrew Golota, winning in round three, a result that was changed to no-contest after Tyson failed a fight-related drug test. Tyson fought only once in 2001 beating Brian Nielsen in Copenhagen with a seventh round TKO.
Tyson sought to fight Lennox Lewis in 2002 in Nevada, but the Nevada boxing commission refused him a license to box as he was facing possible sexual assault charges. Tyson's remarks to Lewis were more vicious than anything he had ever said before. "I want to eat you heart and then eat your children" he screamed. A scuffle at a press conference finally removed any chance of a Nevada fight. The fight actually occurred in June in Memphis, Tennessee. Tyson lost in the eighth round by knockout.
On February 22, 2003, Tyson beat fringe contender Clifford Etienne 49 seconds into round one, once again in Memphis. The pre-fight was marred by rumours of Tyson's lack of fitness and that he took time out from training to party in Las Vegas and have a new facial tattoo.
Hitting rock bottom
In August 2003, after years of financial struggles, Tyson finally filed for bankruptcy. His bank account has been said to have a total of only 5,000 dollars. Amid all his economic troubles, he was named by Ring Magazine at number 16 among all time best hitters in boxing history in 2003.
On July 31, 2004 Tyson faced the unregarded Englishman Danny Williams in another 'come-back' fight staged in Louisville, Kentucky. Tyson dominated the opening two rounds. The third round was more even, with Williams getting in some clean blows and also a few illegal ones, for which he was penalized. In the fourth round Tyson was surprisingly knocked out. He was trying to fight on one leg due to a torn ligament in his leg. Williams put in over twenty unanswered punches although Tyson didn't seem to be hurt by any of the punches. He just seemed to be off balance and when he was knocked down, he didn't try to get back up. This was Tyson's fifth career defeat. Tyson tore the ligament in his knee during the first round. He underwent surgery four days after the fight. His manager Shelly Finkel claimed that Tyson was unable to throw meaningful right hands after the knee injury.
Youngest heavyweight world champ ever at age 20.
Tyson's record stands at 50 wins, 5 losses and 2 no contests, with 44 knockout wins.
In 1989 Mike was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award. Mike Tyson added to his record one damaged car in Scottsdale, Arizona --after a night of drinking and was arrested. Tyson is training for a fight in march.
Cameos and parodies
- In The Simpsons, boxer (and convicted felon) "Drederick Tatum" is clearly modeled on Mike Tyson.
- In 1987, Nintendo released Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, an NES game based on the arcade game "Punch Out!!", although there was later a version released in 1990 that replaced Mike Tyson with a fictional character, "Mr. Dream" after Nintendo's license with Mike Tyson expired. It is considered to be one of the best games released for the NES, and is highly regarded to this day.
- In the Japanese version of Capcom's Street Fighter II series, Balrog is called Mike Bison, as a parody of Mike Tyson, possibly called with a full name of "Michael Gerard Bison." Capcom USA switched the names of the Shadaloo Grandmasters around for the American versions in order to avoid a potential lawsuit from Mike Tyson. The character originally named Balrog was renamed Vega. The character originally named Vega was renamed M. Bison.